Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Inner Life

The outer world is going through a strange and turbulent cycle at the present time. There seem to be so many uncertainties out there for so many people in a way that, only a few years ago, few of us might have imagined. When the world apparently takes a downward dip, it is the very best time to turn within and develop a greater awareness of our inner life.

There is an ongoing inner life that has been present since before we were born. Yet many of us rarely give our attention to it. Many of us today are so fixated on outer activity and events that we remain oblivious to what is happening deep inside on the inner levels of being.

It is an excellent time for meditative practices. Turning within and being aware of the inner light is a stabilizing force. When we experience our own inner light, it radiates outward to the whole world. Turning within toward the inner light projects an uplifting energy to those around us. And now is a time when the world needs light the most.

Now is the time when it is most productive to focus on how to be helpful to others, how to be supportive, nurturing, and kind. These are the qualities most of us need to develop, and the world as it is today is providing the perfect opportunity to develop them. It is good to be aware of what is happening, and to remember to not get caught up in the outer dramas, including how the media describes current reality.

There is a verse in the Shrimad Bhagavatam that says: Truly wise is he who is unstirred by praise or blame, by love or hatred. He is not moved by the opposites of life. Indeed, he delights in the blissful Self.

Can we remain unstirred by praise or blame, or by love or hatred? Imagine what a steady mind is required to remain free from such influences. Today many of us are challenged by the opposites of life. It is the way the world has to be for us to experience the greatest inner growth. Life is designed so that we can grow through facing whatever is presented to us, and in this process we delight in the blissful Self.

Ordinarily in life we get caught up in mental details, in habitual ways of describing conditions and situations. Even with a sincere desire to break free from this, we find it very challenging. Some power seems to pull us back into delusion in spite of ourselves. It is important to know how to break free from deluding influences.

At the root of all the principles of Truth is the inner Self of all beings, pure Consciousness. We serve ourselves and others simply by remembering this simple Truth once again.

Remember to love and respect your own Self, and to be aware that the same Self dwells within all. We are all mirrors of the same infinite Awareness, and we see reflections of ourselves everywhere and in everything.

Do not get caught up in outer appearances, or this world might sometimes appear to be an unkind place. If we can recognize and love the Self in its multitude of forms, no matter how challenging they sometimes are, we will live a life of contentment.

Today the world has taken many bizarre manifestations. Especially at this time, in this moment, see the same divine Being in all things. No matter what happens around you, live in the Truth of the present moment.

When we see and experience the equal divinity of everything, we will experience our own divinity. We will experience that within ourselves that divinity shines on forever. The pure Self of all lives in eternity, in the eternal now. God has already given us everything. All we have to do is recognize and appreciate our own true nature.

Imagine what it might be like to go through life seeing everyone, each detail of the world, and all the situations and conditions of life as equally divine. The first step, after all, is to imagine what it might be like. If we don’t take that first step, we have no way of getting there from here.

Realize the tremendous amount of conditioning that has gone into us thinking lowly of ourselves, and seeing the impurities and imperfections of people around us, and in the world in general. The mind has been taught to describe things in the most grotesque ways. Everything in life has been limited, constrained, and we have learned to see the worst in people, and to be blind to their true greatness. Of course, since we are each blind to our own greatness, it makes it all the easier.

Imagine the revelation that will take place when we realize that everything in life is already pure and perfect exactly as it is, that each detail is as God has created it. This revelation can take place at any point—even now—if we open up to it and allow it to happen. First we can glimpse the beauty and perfection of this world, and then we can gradually focus on it more and more until it becomes absolutely clear.

We can look at the tragedies and catastrophes of the world, the immense suffering that goes on in so many places, and ask, how is this pure and perfect? Still, for the purpose of inner work, the true question is, what do we have to do in order to see purity and perfection in everything?

Can apparent suffering be pure and perfect as it is? We can develop this pure vision simply through strengthening our capacity of compassion. Through pure compassion, we can see the beauty and perfection in all the suffering of this world.

As we work on seeing the divinity of the outer world, we can also work on experiencing the divinity of our own Self. These two things always go together. The outer world is basically a reflection of our own inner consciousness. We see qualities and conditions in the world and others according to the qualities and conditions we recognize in ourselves. For this reason we need to develop the discipline to always see the highest.

When we recognize our own divinity we see the divinity of the whole world, and vice versa. When we see divinity wherever we look, we become divine while still in this body. We already are divine, as we were created from pure divinity, yet we need the conscious recognition of it in order to experience it. This is what is ultimately gained through focusing on the inner life, and we shall see that the inner life is the essence of our existence, both in this world and throughout eternity.


Anonymous said...

Best blog yet, best lesson also. Thank you.

Melissa Abbott said...

ditto - worth waiting for :)

Anonymous said...

While participating in a charity project today I was told by the caretaker for the beneficiary of the project, "Saint Peter is preparing a special place in heaven for you."

Little did she know that heaven is always right here right now in this Moment if one has the vision to see it.

Mely said...

Hello everyone!
I liked the part of the word -forget-. I have been asking myself since the last few months, what it is to truly forget? do I truly forget myself and others? do I really forget?
And after reading the new lesson I remembered one experienced I had with my loved father.
In the past I didn´t had a good relationship with him. I couldn´t forget him for the past. I was so angry with him, I remember I was filled with anger and suffering. But then, with a little help, I decided to forgive him and forgive myself. And I realized that I needed to really forget all the things that make me suffer. And so, I did it.
I don´t know how it happen, but suddenly I felt so free, my heart was filled with love and compassion. Now I have a beautiful relationship with him, I love him so very much, and he knows that.
I know in my heart that this decision that I made was the best decision ever, it made me realize that love an happiness are the best weapons we can use in this lifetime experience.
Thank you so much fot the new lesson.

D. R. Butler said...

There were some questions that came in from the last posting that did not get published or answered. If this included your question, and you would like to resubmit it, the time is now better for answering them. Thanks for your patience.

Naganath said...

The more I expose my mind to the Lessons in a consistent way the more my mind lives the lesson moment by moment. There seems to be a subtle transformation of thought and experience more in line with the Truth of the Present Moment. Is this how it works?

Anonymous said...

It seems that the Truth is too simple for the mind to comprehend. So the Truth gets embellished and spun to satisfy the mind's appetite for novelty. When all that is really necessary is to "Be Here Now".
But, to the mind, that seems like nothing is happening.

D. R. Butler said...

The lessons are designed so that by simply reading them and exposing our conscious mind to them, we gain greater freedom from our habitual tendencies and limited ways of thinking. We become consciously aligned with a new, more expanded way of seeing and understanding the situations and relationships of personal life.

From experience I know that the more contact we have with principles of Truth, the more they become part of us, part of the way we think. Being reminded of an aspect of Truth helps to dispell outgrown, limited notions, which is a major aspect of the road to freedom.

Anyway, your question indicates that you already understand the answer. Sometimes we need a confirmation, and other times we need a simple reminder. As you have seen, the lessons can function well in both areas. For now, continue what you are doing, for you are definitely headed in the right direction.

D. R. Butler said...

Anonymous, the Truth is so simple that it is very challenging to write about or put into any words at all. In a way I find it absurd to be writing a course and blog devoted to becoming more aware of the Truth, for the Truth is already fully aware. It doesn't need any help from us. Yet, on the level of the individual, there are things we can do, attitudes we can create and maintain, that lead to a greater experience of the Truth.

It is totally true when you say that to "Be Here Now" seems, to the mind, like nothing is happening. Then there is the process of realizing that nothing happening is equal to something happening. An unexpected consequence of this is a greater sense of contentment.

Susan said...

My current lesson (Lesson 12 page 9) describes a pattern of behavior that I would like to change having to do with reacting to something someone says and then immediately wanting them to behave differently. I can see the behavior readily now as a conditioned response but I don't have the skill yet to stop my reflexive behavior.(anger) Wanting to explore how to upgrade my response I brought the subject up for conversation. I was then reminded that focusing on the problem gave it more energy. So my question is, how can I explore strategies to upgrade my reactions without focusing on the past negative behavior?

D. R. Butler said...

Susan, you will see that we can go into such things to a much greater degree in the lessons than here in the blog, simply because one lesson lays the foundation for the next. Your question is classic. It is a question all of us wish to be more clear about.

Concisely, when you become aware of a habitual tendency, you create something to take its place in advance. This way you don't focus on the problem; you create beforehand how you will respond instead of being pulled along by past habitual reactions. Focus of attention requires intention and will, which we will explore in detail.

The fact that you have such a question is exactly why we go into such things in the lessons. No matter how sublime and expanded we aspire to be, we still have the nitty-gritty stuff of life to go through and come into harmony with. It is part of being a human being and a process that happens on many levels simultaneously.

You will see that you don't have to refer to or describe past negative behaviors in order to improve the future. All that is required is to focus on what creates or maintains harmony in the present moment.

Sometimes we don't have to solve past problems. Sometimes we simply need to see something in a new way right now, which transforms who we are and how we deal with the outer world and other people. As we will learn, it is primarily a matter of focusing attention. This is what we are being taught to do through practicing the principles explored in each current lesson.

Anonymous said...

I can't even begin to tell you how reading the lessons together has made such a big difference in our relationship, with each other and how we act and react to one another. It is like being re-aligned with the marriage Shakti again!

D. R. Butler said...

Many couples write to say that reading the lessons together is one of the best things they do with each other. I am happy to hear that you are enjoying positive results yourselves.

Ari said...

How does one find a balance between our dharmic duties and having fun?

D. R. Butler said...

Ari, one of the most important principles in my life is to vitally love whatever we do. So the perfect balance between dharmic duties and having fun would be to have fun fulfilling dharmic duties. There is no real reason for there to be any separation between the two. The best approach to all of life is to be open to enjoying whatever is happening. We all know that, practically speaking, everything isn't innately enjoyable, yet we can aspire to go in that direction; in doing so we are performing the most dharmic action possible.

rico said...

At one time doing the laundry was one of my least favorite things to do. I disliked it so much I conned my wife into doing it by buying her a new washing machine.
More recently, after refusing to think negatively about laundry, I have found the "chore" much less tedious and actually enjoy hanging the wash on our new "green" clothesline. This dreaded chore has now become, dare I say it, fun!

ari said...

Wow lesson 17. Nobody would call you a "syrupy" yoga teacher after reading that. But it was a real eye opener for me and I saw myself in it quite a bit.
Although my wife and I dont fight like "two devils" I notice my relationship with my two young kids are much different. I give love freely and readily to my kids. That despite them at times challenging me and having many more negative emotional outburts then any adult in my life. I just let it slide so easily. But any adult dare so even be seemingly negative in any form I am ready to "defend" myself.
I'm so ready to take this lesson and become "unstuck" from my repeated patterns of behavour.

Sylvia in Colorado said...

My heartiest gratitude to you, DR, for your continued and loving words of wisdom, for teaching this profound course of study and experience from your heart. I am among those who took your previous course for 20+ years. I love it now as much as I loved it then. I'm so happy that you're back! I have always had the feeling that you go into an altered state and/or that you are divinely guided when you write,DR. Is this true? Also I can feel a difference in your "state" between the old course and this one, although cannot put my finger on more specifics and it does not matter anyway. Either way I am deeply thankful for you and all of those great beings who have influenced your life so that we now have this opportunity to fly the friendly skies together.
Love, Sylvia

Ann said...

I cannot begin to describe the difference Lesson 17 has made in my life in such a very short time. It's truly been amazing. I can, however, say that I am so very grateful for it.........and for so much more. Thank you from the center of my heart. Love to you and Kay.

James said...

I love the new lesson exploring how our feelings create and color the details of our personal reality. The course means more to me than I know how to express. I know there is so much available in books and on the Internet, but why anyone wouldn't include this course in their studies is beyond me. You offer so much and ask for so little in return. I thank you with all my heart for all your efforts in making it available to us.

Anastasia said...

I loved last lesson 15 about melodramas. Coming from a very melodramatic family I can appreciate this lesson. Most of all I really got the list is, as you said an extremely powerful exercise and I intend to pass it on. Brilliant!